One shattered Red

I am not sure where to start. Losing any game is hard, but a finals game is so much harder to take. Credit has to go the Central Coast who quite clearly tactically out played Adelaide United and scored the vital goal needed to progress through to the second week. But does this result overshadow what has been a revolutionary and progressive season for the Reds?

I would hate to think so. To be honest, I personally thought that this finals result would leave a stain on an otherwise bright season for the Reds. Three days on and with a much clearer mind, I have put last Saturday’s result to one side and thought about how positive the 2013/2014 A-League season has been for Adelaide United. On and off the pitch, Adelaide United has taken the necessary measures to be a force within the A-League for many years to come. Here are just some of the reasons why.

Josep (The God) Gombau
Yes, everyone of you reading this are probably saying to yourselves “well of course, this is obvious.” But in all seriousness I would hate to think of what Adelaide United would have became without the charismatic Spaniard taking charge. Wind back the clock to the loss to Brisbane Roar last season in the ALeague Finals. Where was the club going? Who was going to take charge? What style of football would the Reds play? How could Adelaide United ever seriously challenge for the Premiership and Championship, respectfully? I, like many, couldn’t answer those questions. There was more confusion and discontent among the fans and the players then you could poke a stick at. But the board took some serious measures and steps to bring in an unknown Spanish manager with a great pedigree.

Yes, 2013/2014 didn’t provide a consistent array of positive results throughout the season. But what Gombau did provide was a new football philosophy. He taught fairly average footballers how to possess and pass the football the way Adelaide United should play. Gombau implemented a 4-3-3 formation for majority of the season with a slight change to a 3-4-3 when often chasing the game. Rumours are doing the rounds that next season Gombau will switch permanently to 3-4-3, creating even more emphasis of attacking possession football.

Will a 3-4-3 bring title success in the 2014/2015? It could. I for one am excited to see how it all pans out.

The five amigos
Marcelo Carrusca, Fabio Ferreira, Isasis Sanchez Cortes, Jeronimo Neumann and Sergio Cirio are indeed the fabulous five amigos which have been vital for Adelaide United this season. The two Spaniards, two Argentinians and one Portuguese have consistently provided assists, goals, creative stability and big game experience to Josep Gombau’s side. Carrusca, Ferreira, Neumann and Cirio have all contributed 32 goals collectively; with Neumann the club’s top scorer with 9 goals for the campaign.

The unheralded amigo of the five has to be Isasis, who in my opinion; has been one of the Reds’ best. After a slow start adjusting to football in Australia, ‘Isa’ has been central to Adelaide United’s attacking football and more then sound sitting just above the Reds back four. The Sabadell-born Spaniard quietly goes about his business and rarely wastes a pass. Along with the remaining four amigos, Isasis will be important for the Reds next season as the club build’s on from this season and start to implement a more testing 3-4-3 formation.

Eugene (HUGENE) Galekovic’s fancy feet
Every football side needs a great goalkeeper. Yes, we all know that Eugene Galekovic is one of, if not the best in the A-League business. What we all didn’t see coming was how Eugene improved his technical ability and passing skills to become the first point of attack for the Reds. Galekovic has worked tirelessly on his passing this season and has rarely scuffed a ball. Along with his growing leadership skills and natural one-on-one goalkeeping ability, Eugene has revolutionised what a goalkeeper’s role should be in a side. Yes, Theo has done it before although has Adelaide United seen such a clean passing goalkeeper starting a forward attack? I think not. Galekovic played apart in some of Adelaide’s best attacking plays for most of the season. Next season will only demand the same and if not more from the Reds captain.

The buzz
Adelaide United have got the football public talking and the fans puffing their chests out proudly. On-field improvement has seen off-field success. I think even the neutrals could claim to agree that they have enjoyed watching the Reds play this season. From the oblivious ‘kick and chase’ to a form of ‘total football’, Adelaide United have changed completely for the better. We all know that Josep Gombau’s project is a work in progress. Next season will be the real test to see how the club builds on from a fair start this season. Maintaining the interest and anticipation of the side next season is a must to keep the fans coming back to Coopers Stadium. Onwards and upwards!

Go Go Mabil
I don’t like pressuring young footballers, but Awer Mabil is going to be a star. Sorry, I couldn’t help but say it. Mabil, at 18 years of age, has provided such composure and impact in his first professional season. Josep Gombau will only help Awer blossom into a young football prodigy. This could be great news for Adelaide United and the Socceroos too if young Mabil continues improve his game, especially in a defensive sense. Although majority of Mabil’s game time this season came off the bench, Awer provided consistent and immediate impact, often changing the game in a positive sense for the Reds.

Well, that was just a slight tip of the hat in regard to Adelaide United’s 2013/2014 A-League campaign. Adelaide United’s revolution under the steady hand of Josep Gombau will continue. In what capacity and improvement, we wait to see. This off-season will provide the ultimate test to see how the Reds can genuinely become the league’s best. Thank you Adelaide United for the memories this 2013/2014 campaign. Us fans are very appreciative of it and can’t wait for 2014/2015 to begin!